The Omicron Matter – Preparations and Arrival – Time, Quality and Cost


A new entry in the Omicron Matter – Preparations and Arrival. The construction of the factory is well underway. Jason has occasional wiring work, but otherwise is working on theory and surveying. However, he has misgivings about the haste of construction

For those who are new to The Omicron Matter, the book home page is a good place to start.

Author’s note

I work as a consultant and I learned a phrase many years ago – faster, better, cheaper (pick two). The art of getting a project done is balancing those three and recognizing what happens if one of the legs is over emphasized. Many years ago, NASA tried to do Mars exploration “faster, better, cheaper”. The idea was that ten$100 Million missions was better than one $1 billion mission. The problem was that one mission cratered itself on the surface because of a calculation error. Another was lost in space on its way to Jupiter – presumably because fluctuations in a fuel line resulted in it blowing up.   After $200 Million in losses plus lost windows, NASA decided “Better” needed a bit more emphasis.  Would you want to jump to faster than light on machines that were hastily built with an eye towards profit?

I spent the weekend doing editing on “The Recruiting Matter” and planning a November “Nanowrimo” project.  I am surprised how hard it is to cut a story by a third.

Thank you for your support. Look for more on Wednesday

Jason on the bridge – Time, Quality and Cost (pick two)

Michael, Eleanor and John were in the machine shop on the lower levels most hours now.  A new manufacturing tool would be produced, placed on the line and then Jason and Simone pull some wire to the contraption. Rachael or Simone would fine tune the device and the process repeated.  Each tool took about day to complete.  In two weeks, they had laid out six stations and the manufacturing process would soon be ready. Simone and Eleanor, with Rachael and John’s help would lead that. Jason cleaned his hands of the solder grease as Rachael moved in quickly to fine tune the console he had hooked up.  Jason frowned as Rachael started her work. Millicent stood next to him and observed with arms crossed.  She watched Rachael but asked Jason,  “Speculating, Mr. McNeill?”

Jason shrugged and said, “Worrying. “ He waved around the room and said, “This all seems a bit rushed.  We built these stations in less time than we built the devices. Everyone was careful, but…”

Millicent finished, “But rushing means less checking, more short cuts and that means errors.”

Jason retuned the soiled rag to his work bag and said, “My water heater case took as long to make as all of these pieces.”

Millicent smiled and said, “You did not have the precision tools available on this ship or Smith’s. And you didn’t have as many capable hands – although I will not slight Stephen.  Regardless, you’re point is taken. We are taking risks. But needs must and that is why these early units will be called ‘demo models’”

Jason rolled his eyes and said, “Demo models.” He changed the subject and asked, “What will happen at the station?”

Millicent pursed her lips and said, “If we are lucky, we make some sales; we will meet some important people and I will find out about some entries on Smith’s infamous list.”  She looked at him and said, “And you will continue your practical learning of the galaxy and its ways.“

Jason cocked his head and asked, “Practical?”

“You will run an errand or two. I expect Liam will have found the local public establishments,” She turned and looked him over appraisingly and shaking her head back and forth. She added, “And we send you shopping for some clothes.”

Rachael shouted, “Save your money,  Millicent. Can’t make a silk’s purse out of a sows ear.”

Jason blushed but Millicent said, “I am not so sure. I will have Mr. O’Conner’s help on that matter.”

Jason sputtered protest, but Millicent continued on, “All of you will be having a minor surgery at the station.” Jason stopped and got wide eyed. She continued, “Just a small addition. Something that will help you in a crowd of people. I have used this surgeon over the years and I have found it very useful over the years to be able to speak the local language.”

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